Advanced technology for horse health arrives in WA

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The first standing MRI module has arrived in Western Australia and promises advanced imaging to help avoid injuries in horses.

Standing MRI scans are expected to be available in early 2023 as part of a veterinary imaging suite at The Animal Hospital at Murdoch University, which will also include standing CT.

Racing and Wagering Western Australia is supporting the new facility and Head of Veterinary Services Dr Judith Medd said the imaging technology was an exciting advance in proactive health protection. Subsidised scans will be available for racehorses.

“Standing MRI is outstanding for enabling vets to see inside the foot and up to the knee without the risks or costs of anaesthesia,” she said.

“It is especially useful for seeing soft tissue and bone bruising, or oedema, which is an early sign of bone injury.

“Early warning is vital for appropriate handling and injury prevention.”

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RWWA’s support for the new Advanced Standing Imagery Suite is from the allocation of racing prize money dedicated to animal welfare initiatives.

Active racehorses will be eligible for a 10 per cent discount on scans. In addition, RWWA offers a refund of up to half the costs of advanced imaging to foster racehorse wellbeing.

Murdoch University Senior Lecturer in Equine Medicine Dr David Byrne said the goal was to offer a high quality and previously unavailable service to the horse community of WA and TAHMU vet partners.

“Early lameness diagnosis and injury prevention means fewer lost training days as well as better results for horses,” he said.

“Construction is under way on the standing CT facility and the self-contained MRI module will be installed alongside it shortly.”

Susan de Ruyter